Astronomers of the inward: on the histories and case histories of Alexander Luria and Oliver Sacks

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Abstract

This essay discusses the brief but extensive correspondence Soviet neuro-psychologist Alexander Luria exchanged with his younger American colleague Oliver Sacks between 1973 and 1977, the year Luria died. Sacks, whose case histories went on to become mainstream bestsellers, always expressed his indebtedness to Luria, whose warm and detailed approach to writing about his patients’ peculiar and sometimes distressing neurological conditions inspired Sacks. This essay explores this influence but also probes distinctions between the two scientists’ understandings of human consciousness tied to the very different social and political contexts in which they conducted their clinical research.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalStudies in East European Thought
Early online date1 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jun 2021

Keywords

  • psychology
  • psychiatry
  • Soviet Union
  • Alexander Luria
  • Oliver Sacks

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